My name is Anca Fotache, EMEA Service Delivery Director in Stefanini
Stefanini Group is a global tech multinational that features a broad portfolio of solutions. Our worldwide presence includes 41 countries, 25,000 employees, and we offer support in 35 languages. Driven by our entrepreneurial mindset and our natural agility we help customers digitally transform their businesses. We co-create processes and applications within our ecosystem, which includes our clients, ventures, partners, and employees, and deliver innovative, effective solutions that lead customers through the digital journey.
How did you start your career? Which were your first steps? How did you envision your career?
I remember that when I decided to study Philosophy at the University of Bucharest, some of my friends and relatives were surprised and concerned about my future career. “Philosophy? This is not practical at all, why don’t you try something else”, they said. On the contrary, philosophy actually deals with the real world, its complex nature and our place in it.
Following graduation, like many of us, I was left with more questions than answers and I knew that I knew nothing, which was not exactly a sign of wisdom.
I started my career in the reception of a medical centre and actually my first assignment gave me the opportunity to use the analytical and critical thinking skills I gained in University (I had to make an assessment of the activity and propose improvement measures). After several months I was promoted Reception Coordinator.
Although I didn’t articulate a clear vision about my career at that time, I knew from the very beginning that I would follow a management path. Planning, coordinating, changing, empowering and motivating people – these activities have always given me a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.
What were your key career moments (those that had an impact on your professional journey)?
If I had to select only major milestones of my professional journey, I would start with my first job at Orange, as Customer Care Representative, in 2003, which gave me the opportunity to join one of the best employers on the Romanian market.
In 2009, I made a shift from people and operational management to project and portfolio management. With this in mind, I joined Orange PMO, as Roadmap Manager. Holding a position at the center of the governance and decision-making process, supervising the execution of more than 130 projects per year, advising PMs and aligning projects with the strategy, was definitely an important step further in my career.
I spent 11 years in Orange; I had a chance of playing different roles, of working in different departments and meeting excellent professionals, from whom I learned a lot.
In 2014, I decided to change the industry and I accepted the Global Service Desk Manager role at Stefanini.
Working for a global company, in such a dynamic environment, brought out the best in me. The past six years have challenged me the most, but they have also given me the most.
What is the best three most valuable career lessons you have learned?
In the past 20 years, ever since my first job, I have met remarkable people, I’ve had the opportunity to coordinate amazing teams, I have worked for great companies and customers. And I’ve never stopped learning.
Carlos ‘lesson. True leaders are facilitators. They serve group’s interests. They are authentic and they lead by example.
One of the most powerful leadership lessons came from Carlos, who is not a well- known CEO as you might expect, but…a horse. In 2013, I participated in the Transformational Leadership workshop organized by Horse Eye, a unique experience that I will never forget.
The first exercise was to recognize who is the dominant horse of the herd – the alpha. And nobody, but nobody could recognize the leader because it was not the strongest one, but the horse who served the group’s interests better. We were not able to identify Carlos’s subtle role of alleviating conflicts as they arose, of separating or gathering horses depending on what was best for the group.
Progress over perfection lesson
For many years I struggled to accept failure as part of my life. 99.99% was not enough, until I realized that sometimes perfection is the enemy of the good, and you may lose time and opportunities waiting for the best to come.
A perfect world does not evolve. Progress is about the future, it is about growth, about advancement. Progress is about moving towards our goals, while also enjoying the journey, not only the outcome.
“The Ugly Duckling” lesson. The ugly duck was a swan from the very beginning, but it became a swan only when realized who it was.
“The Ugly Duckling” was one of the tales I loved the most because it is about personal transformation for the better. There are two important lessons that we can take from this story, that we can apply in both our personal and professional lives: 1) know thyself in order to achieve your full potential; 2) the transformation journey is not easy and it can sometimes be painful, but the effort pays off.
Why did you choose Business Service Industry? What were top 3 reasons for choosing Stefanini?
I must say that I did not choose the Business Service Industry, but rather that the Business Service Industry chose me. In November 2013, one of my closest friends contacted me about an opportunity as Service Desk Manager in Stefanini and she convinced me to apply.
I came to the interview more for the sake of experience, but after the first meeting with the Recruitment team I decided this is the place where I want to be. It proved to be one of the best decisions I took in my professional life.
Stefanini is a digital technology company, with more than 25000 employees and present in 40 countries. Behind the numbers, Stefanini is about people and business, it’s about co-creating, it’s about digital and how to transform the dream into reality; it’s about being humble and bold at the same time.
Despite the significant growth we enjoyed in the past years, we kept our flexible and personal approach, our appetite for continuous learning.
There are many reasons to choose Stefanini. If I were to select only three, then I would start with:
People – I met remarkable people since I joined this company, people who inspired me to become a better person and a better professional.
Culture of trust – I felt empowered since the very beginning to be myself, to come up with new ideas, to challenge the status quo and implement the changes I believed in.
Exponential growth. When you work for a company like Stefanini, with a global presence and a very broad portfolio, you feel like there are no geographical and technology boundaries anymore. You become a Citizen of the world.
What are your/your company’s plans for 2020?
We are now Stefanini Group; in 2020 all our regions will be integrated to work as one. We are an ecosystem of ventures, partners and global innovation centers that are co-creating solutions through people and technology.
We’ve spent the last years talking about digital solutions, now it’s time to implement them. We’ve piloted plenty of projects and invested in our own digital transformation – now it’s time to use all the knowledge we gathered and co-create solutions with our partners.
Our attitude is humble and pragmatic, our mindset is growth oriented, our business behavior is swift and agile.
To us, it is important first to understand the problems our clients are facing and then tailor our solutions to fix them. We are not there just to solve tickets, we investigate the main issue further – discovering what is triggering the tickets. Thus, we help our clients understand and solve their problems – this is what we mean by co-creating solutions for a better future.
What do you think would be the keywords of the year for managers in the Business Services industry? Automation? Cutting costs?
Digital transformation, Automation and cutting costs will continue to remain keywords for managers in the Business Services industry, just as they were in the previous year.
In 2020 another word will be added to the list- Integration – with its multiple facets: co-creation, integration of traditional and digital offerings, hybrid workforce ( human and digital workforce collaborating).
Tell us a little bit about your private life. Tell us about your passions, family. What do you do to relax?
The most important part of my life are the people I love and I care about: my family and my friends. I am a very proud mom of an 8 year-old young lady, who means the world to me and to my husband.
What do I do to relax? I spend time with family and friends, I read, take walks in a park, watch movies, go to theatre, learn new things. The perfect moment is a mix of: family, friends, summer, sea, good books.
If you were starting now your career, knowing the present and near future opportunities, what would you do? What career would you pursue?
I am in the place where I want to be: in the middle of a significant transformation, challenging the status quo, being challenged by the fast evolution of today’s world, working with people who inspire me, breaking walls and building bridges.
No matter what I am doing, I like to have the possibility to change, to create something new and meaningful.
If I had talent, I would like to be a writer, unfortunately it is not the case (thus I struggle to write this article).
What are the top 3 skills that you would develop?
First of all, Self-Awareness, which is a critical ability to fulfil the potential and become a better leader and a better person. Then, the ability to cultivate a growth mindset and digital literacy, mandatory skills for managers in the digital world.
What would you do and what would you avoid doing? – practical advice to young professionals.
Three things should never be stifled: curiosity, the desire to learn and the ability to dream.
Do not outsource your own career; each of us is accountable for his/ her own success.
There is no simple solution and there is no magic wand. Sustainable success is about digging at the roots, changing our mindset, working hard and being disciplined in pursuing our goals.